Beatrice “Bea” Marie Gorrell (88)
Bea was born in Great Bend, Kansas on June 29, 1930. She transitioned into her eternal home on August 14, 2018 in Goodyear, Arizona. She will be laid to rest at Fort Logan National Cemetery in Denver on Tuesday September 4, 2018 at 2:00 in the afternoon.
She was preceded in death by her husband of 35 years, Kenneth Gorrell, his son, Dale Gorrell, her grandson Eric Christopher Bell, her parents, Ervin and Mae Schneider, her brother, Jack Schneider and her sister, Bernadine Linenberger.
She is survived by: Dale Gorrell’s children Robbie and Becca Gorrell-Eiland and 7 grandchildren; Cathrine Gorrell Thomas, children Stacey and Jamie, 5 children, and 6 great-grandchildren; Dennis Schreiber; Cheryl Gorrell Hollender, children Travis and Andrew, and 5 grandchildren; Joyce Bell and her husband Harry, children Dustin and Jodi Wells, and 9 grandchildren; Brenda Bates and her husband Don, her children Tony, Tim, Mandi Perna, Don’s son, Chris Bates, and 8 grandchildren; Keith Schreiber and his wife Dottie, their children Michael and Keith Jr, and 5 grandchildren; Kent Gorrell and his wife Trudy, and her 3 children and 7 grandchildren; her brothers Ervin Schneider, Marvin Schneider, and her sister Kathleen Bittner.
Mama grew up on a farm in central Kansas where she learned, from an early age, what hard work was. If she wasn’t in the fields on a tractor with her brothers, you could find her in the garden or in the kitchen with her mama.
She married her high school sweetheart, Leonard Eugene “Gene” Schreiber, October 18, 1950, at St Ann’s Catholic Church in Olmitz, Kansas. The two of them lived in Great Bend, KS where Gene was a truck driver. Dennis was born in July 1951, Joyce in August 1953, Brenda in October 1954, and Keith was born in January of 1960. A job opportunity for Gene moved the family to Denver, Colorado in August of 1961.
Mama met one of her neighbors, Barbara Driver, who had her own slipcover business. Being a seamstress herself, she worked with Barbara until her talents were perfected and was able to branch out on her own. She opened her own business called “Bea’s Slipcovers and Home Accessories” working with well-known designers in the Denver and Boulder communities. She provided services for some very influential people including, John Elway, Mike Shanahan, and the Coors family in Golden, to name of few. She prided herself in that she never had to advertise her business; her customers came to her by word of mouth. This vocation allowed her to be at home with her children while being the sole breadwinner in the household after Bea and Gene separated. She also taught others the trade when she was asked to teach at Emily Griffith Opportunity School, a vocational school in Denver, where she taught for the better part of 35 years.
In April of 1972 she married Kenneth Gorrell in Arvada, Colorado.
She enjoyed 36 years of marriage with Ken before he passed away in 2007.
Together they loved on their collective eight children, 17 grandchildren, 46 great-grandchildren, and 6 great-great-grandchildren.
Mama loved to bake. When she knew someone was coming over she threw a cake in the oven. It wasn’t an ordinary cake – it was a mouth watering, jaw dropping, aroma tantalizing pumpkin bundt cake with spiced frosting. It was her specialty and everybody loved it. (The recipe is below.) She also loved to bake and decorate birthday and anniversary cakes. The grandkids always looked forward to seeing what she had made and designed specially for them.
It was always a score if you ended up at her house for dinner on meatloaf night or Hungarian goulash night. Oh man, it was the best! That woman could cook.
She also loved to make kuchen (a German fruit filled pastry). She would invite the grandkids to come over to help make them but she always had most of it done before they ever arrived. Too often, the only thing they could help with was eating them – but that was okay too. A week before she passed, she told Joyce that she needed to make a batch of kuchen. My brother-in-law, Harry, gave her the finest gift of all when he made them for her and gave her the credit. That was one of the last things she ate before her passing. Thank you, Harry.
Mama also loved her hobbies (sewing, quilting, beading, decorating, and embroidery). She loved to gift others with her latest projects. She loved to make shirts for all of the girls. She used liquid embroidery and appliqued graphics on sweatshirts. She was also a textile collector. That means that she had more fabric than she could ever use but that didn’t stop her from buying a few more yards…just in case it was needed for an upcoming project.
She also spread her wings a bit and started another home business through Home Interiors. She moved quickly up the ranks and ended up pretty high on the pyramid, earning a silver-plated punch bowl set, a diamond necklace and earrings and a mink coat. Everyone in the family and all of her friends were Home Interior poor but our walls sure looked good! She loved doing home parties and enjoyed the relationships she built with others over the years.
Mama was a very special lady. She didn’t have much, but what she had, she worked really hard for and shared with others who were more needy than her. She loved to share her baked goods with the neighbors and even fixed extra so that there was enough to go around. It didn’t matter what time of year it was, she would make peanut brittle and take it to her hairdresser or their servers at the local restaurants where they ate. Everybody loved my mama; not for the gifts she gave, although they were appreciated, but for the sunshine she emitted when she walked into the room. Her smile was contagious and she loved to laugh. Sometimes so hard, that she would lose her teeth. And that made what she was talking about even funnier. We never knew what to expect from her but it was usually uplifting and heart warming.
Mama was a woman of strong faith. She knew where she was going before she ever left us. She trusted in the Bible to know that Jesus was her Savior and when the time would come, He would carry her home to her heavenly home. She prayed often and would always ask others, “How can I pray for you today?” She believed that our prayers are heard and answered. Sometimes yes, sometimes no, and sometimes not yet. She knew if her prayers weren’t answered the way she prayed them that God had a better plan. She didn’t doubt His power and she didn’t doubt His grace.
She loved her Lord, her family, and her friends. She also loved going to Dairy Queen for a chocolate milkshake, to Wendy’s for a bowl of chili and a frosty, to Taco Bell for a taco salad and to the Egg & I for the family she found there. She loved to play games: canasta, pinochle, and Yahtzee. She loved to garden, read romantic novels, and do word search puzzles. Mostly, she loved being surrounded by the people she loved.
Today we know that Mama is standing tall, walking freely, and breathing deeply. She is in the presence of our Lord!
In lieu of flowers please make donations in her memory to Hospice of the Valley. The address is Surprise Palliative Care, 14066 W. Waddell Road, Surprise AZ 85379.
Pumpkin Bundt Cake (Mama’s Speciality)
18 ½ oz spice cake mix
3 ¾ oz. package instant vanilla pudding
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup flour
½ cup water
1 cup of canned pumpkin
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla
Combine all ingredients and beat 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour into a well-greased 10-inch tube or bundt pan. Bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 40-50 minutes. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes. Turn out onto a cooling rack or serving plate. Drizzle with powdered sugar icing when completely cool.
Icing for the Pumpkin Bundt Cake
¼ cup margarine, softened
1 ¼ cup powdered sugar
2 teaspoons instant tea
1 tablespoon milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream margarine and powdered sugar. Combine instant tea, milk, and vanilla. Add to sugar mixture and beat well. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick to drizzle. Enjoy!